Bronica Z / D

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Japanese medium-format SLR (edit)
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4.5×6 Bronica ETR | Contax 645 AF | Fujifilm GX645AF | Konica SF | Mamiya M645 | Mamiya M645 Super / Pro | Mamiya 645AF | Pentax 645 | Pentax 645N | Pentax 645NII
4×4 Atomflex | Komaflex-S | Super Flex Baby
Japanese TLR and pseudo TLR ->
Other Japanese 6×6, 4.5×6, 3×4 and 4×4 ->

The first model Bronica 6x6 is a focal plane SLR camera. Early on is often just called Bronica upon introduction. It was also called Bronica Z because of the big Z on the hood which stood for Zenza or Zenzaburo for the company founder Zenzaburo Yoshino. It was produced in 1958. An improved version is called Bronica D. It was replaced by a more basic but mechanically improved version called Bronica S in 1961.

The camera is often referred to as a copy of the Hasselblad 1600 F or 1000 F. Though many design choices are influenced by the Hasselblad, it had a number of innovative features that was not available at the time on any 6×6 SLR cameras. It was the first with an instant return mirror that goes forward and down to the base. This design makes it so shorter focal lengths lenses can be used without interfering with the mirror.

The lens system consist of two main parts. The focusing helical and the lens head. The focusing helical is on the camera body and can extend outwards from the body permitting closer focusing. A focusing scale is also located on the helical. The lens head contains the release to dismount from the focusing helical. A lever on the body can also lock the focusing helical.

Automatic diaphragm lenses are supported along with manual and preset lenses. With automatic lenses you can focus and compose with the lenses wide open. During exposure, the diaphragm automatically closes down to the correct aperture setting. After exposure, the diaphragm automatically reopens the aperture ready to compose for the next shot. An aperture preview (red) button is located on the opposite side of the shutter release. Holding this button closes the aperture blades making it easier to gauge depth-of-field at the set aperture. Releasing this button returns the blades to the wide open position.

The main control knob is multi functional. It operates the focusing, film advance, and shutter cocking. In normal mode the knob operates focusing. To change to the film advance mode; pull the knob outwards, a red arrow will now show on the knob spindle. Rotate the knob forward to advance and cock the shutter. To return to focusing mode; rotate the knob backwards and it will snap back into place. The shutter speed marking are also on top face of this knob.

The shutter settings are from 1 to 1/1250 sec. with X as 1/50 sec for electronic flash sync. B is for the bulb mode and can also be used for exposures from 2 to 10 seconds by using the timer dial. To do so unlock the dial by sliding and holding the lock and rotating the number (2-10) to the red arrow and release the lock when set. A PC connector is also on this dial. The bottom base of the camera body has a bayonet tripod mount with a 1/4-20 tripod socket.

Bronica D

The Bronica D or Bronica Deluxe is a very similar camera to the Z. The camera was introduced in approx 1960. It was created during the development of the more simplified camera the Bronica S. The model S was about a year from being finished, and a improved Z was a logical choice. The Bronica D name is often used incorrectly in reference to the first camera instead of the Bronica Z.

The D models improve upon the earlier model. It no longer use brass materiel in the gearing that has caused problems. The multi function knob is now in a dark colour. The film back has also been changed to semi automatic loading requiring the use a start mark to align the paper leader.


Introduction 1958 / 1960
Type 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 (6cm × 6cm) Single lens reflex camera
Film back removable
Film 120 roll film 12 exposures
Finder Fresnel lens and large magnifier
Viewfinder hood interchangeable with pentaprism finder or magnifying hood
Focusing built-in non-removable Helicoid type
Distance Scale 50mm right hand side or 135mm left hand side of barrel
Mirror flip down, instant return, automatic mirror system
Depth-of-Field Depth-of-field can be checked by pressing preview button
Shutter Vertical-travel focal plane shutter
Shutter Speeds B, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1250, X (1/50)
Long exposure: 1s to 10s
Multiple exposure yes
Self timer yes, adjustable delay 1 to 10s
Film winding winding crank or knob
Dimensions 89 × 86 × 136mm
Weight 1.165 kg